Burnout at Work

Theresa Dash - author of the lesson   Theresa I September 26, 2022
General English, Business English, Speaking Lessons, English for HR
Work, Human Resources
B2 Upper-Intermediate
Verb Patterns, Reporting Verbs
Grammar, Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
45 minutes
Illustration for an ESL lesson plan featuring a video discussing workplace burnout. Students will learn and practice reporting verbs, verb patterns, and vocabulary terms.

Lesson Overview

Don’t bite someone’s head off! In this lesson, students will learn about the reasons, symptoms, and consequences of burnout at work. This lesson features a video that discusses burnout in the workplace. Students will learn and practice reporting verbs, verb patterns, and vocabulary relating to this topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Grammar: Learners will explore and practice the use of reporting verbs and verb patterns in English. This includes understanding which verbs are followed by infinitives and which by gerunds, as well as the use of "that" clauses in reported speech. Through exercises and examples, students will learn how to accurately report someone's words in a variety of contexts.

  • Listening: By listening to a video discussing workplace burnout, students will practice comprehending spoken English related to work, motivation, and employee-employer dynamics. They'll focus on identifying key phrases and advice given in the video, enhancing their ability to understand and process spoken English on the topic of workplace wellness.

  • Speaking: Students will engage in discussion activities where they express their views on burnout, share personal experiences, and discuss strategies to cope with burnout based on prompts from the lesson plan. This will improve their fluency and confidence in speaking about complex topics in English.

  • Vocabulary: The lesson will introduce vocabulary related to workplace dynamics and burnout, including words like "recognition," "sabotage," "submission," "appreciation," and phrases used in the context of discussing employee well-being and motivation. Students will practice these terms in various activities, enhancing their ability to discuss work-related issues effectively.

  • Homework: Homework assignments will reinforce the lesson's objectives through tasks that require completing sentences with new vocabulary, choosing the correct words or verb forms, and using reporting verbs and verb patterns correctly. For example, tasks include filling in blanks with words like "goals," "embrace," and "appreciation," and choosing between "sabotage" / "appreciate" or "power" / "sabotage."


“Everybody has crappy bosses! Learn these tips on how to be a great employee and get what you want out of your job.” This video features a talk show that discusses the feeling of being burned out at work and how to deal with it.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

burnout [noun]: exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration
intervene [verb]: to interfere with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning)
embrace [verb]: to accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically
submission [noun]: the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person
sabotage [verb]: to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)
recognition [noun]: acknowledgment of something's existence, validity, or legality
carrot and stick method [noun]: a motivational approach that involves offering a “carrot” (a reward for good behavior) and a “stick” (a negative consequence for poor behavior)
crappy [adjective]: of extremely poor quality
trash-talk [verb]: to use insulting or boastful speech intended to demoralize
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